STATE NEWS ROUNDUP: Bookkeeper convicted of embezzeling from her parents' business in northern Wisconsin
A former bookkeeper has been convicted of embezzling over a half-million dollars from her parents' business in northern Wisconsin. 46-year-old Lisa Saykally struck a plea deal this week in Oneida County Circuit Court. She pleaded no contest to six felony embezzlement charges, and one count of preparing fraudulent income tax returns. Nine similar charges were dropped, but they'll be considered when she's sentenced on January 9th. The money was stolen from Aqualand Manufacturing of Woodruff, which makes custom lake equipment including piers, docks, boat-lifts, and boat tracking systems -- plus other items like stairs and picnic grills. The defendant's parents own the business. Online court records list Seakally's current address as Bottineau North Dakota.
A southwest Wisconsin man has been sentenced to 14 months in a federal prison for using fake bar codes to get big price breaks at a number of stores. 27-year-old Jeremy Fishnick of Lancaster was sentenced yesterday by Federal Judge Linda Reade in Cedar Rapids Iowa. He'll spend three years under a supervised release when he leaves prison, and he must pay 33-thousand dollars in restitution. Fishnick admitted printing his own U-P-C codes on labels, and covering them over the actual codes to get large discounts on hardware and equipment. In one case, Fishnick bought an 890-dollar welding unit for just under 150-dollars. It happened between July and November of last year at stores in Prairie du Chien and six Iowa cities including Dubuque. Fishnick struck a plea deal this summer. He pleaded guilty in early July to a single count of wire fraud.
The fifth-highest Powerball jackpot of the year was won last night. A ticket sold in California matched all the numbers to win 213-point-four million dollars. Wisconsin had one big winner. A ticket sold in the Milwaukee suburb of Butler won 40-thousand-dollars by having the Power Play, and matching four regular numbers plus the Powerball. Just over 17-thousand-300 Wisconsin players won smaller prizes. Last night's numbers were 3, 23, 31, 34, and 47. The Powerball was 13. The jackpot goes back to 40-million dollars for Saturday night. In Mega Millions, the top prize is 65-million dollars for the next drawing in that game tomorrow night.
Tree swallows in Wisconsin and Minnesota appear to be dying from an old household chemical. That's according to the U-S Geological Survey, which studied the effects of P-F-A-S. The substance is found in no-stick cookware and household stain repellents. Makers of those products started phasing out the chemical 13 years ago, when the exposure concerns were first raised. Federal scientist Christine Custer says the chemicals are not common anymore -- but high concentrations are still found throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota, and other hot spots. Researchers studied nests at eight locations. They found that hatching rates for tree swallows were less in place with the most contamination from P-F-A-S. The study recognizes that other factors may also be causing the declines.
A cleaning accident by employees started the fire that destroyed a Wendy's restaurant near Wausau two weeks ago. Rib Mountain deputy fire chief John Lauer tells WAOW T-V that four employees were cleaning a fryer for cooking chicken when they pulled it from a wall, and disconnected a natural gas line. Investigators say they're still not sure how the gas ignited, but it could have started from the pilot light of another appliance. The late-night blaze on October 10th caused one-and-a-half million dollars of damage, destroying a restaurant built in the 1990's. Lauer said the workers heard hissing, and they immediately knew there was a gas problem. They ran outside and called their manager -- and one worker went back in to turn off a valve. When that happened, Lauer said the flames erupted. He said the employees were lucky they were not killed, especially the one who rushed back inside.